Slight Loss for TSX

Pason Systems Featured

Canada's main stock index were muted at open on Friday, as weakness in energy stocks and fears of tighter lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases globally outweighed optimism around a $1.9-trillion U.S. stimulus plan.

The TSX dipped 26.8 points to open the week’s last session at 17,931.29.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.43 cents at 78.63 cents U.S.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire expressed France's stiff opposition to a possible near-$20-billion takeover of Carrefour by Alimentation Couche-Tard on Friday. Shares in Couche-Tard gathered 86 cents, or 2.4%, to $37.15.

Canaccord Genuity raised the rating on Aphria to speculative buy from hold. Aphria shares galloped $2.10, or 13.8%, to $17.35.

CIBC initiated coverage on Cenovus Energy with an outperform rating. Cenovus shares backtracked 29 cents, or 3.5%, to $7.95.

National Bank of Canada raised the rating on Pason Systems to outperform from sector perform. Pason shares gained 29 cents, or 3.3%, to $9.02.

On the economic beat, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported national home sales rose 7.2% on a month-over-month basis in December.

ON BAYSTREET

The TSX Venture Exchange nosed ahead 1.52 points to 915.87.

Seven of the 12 subgroups started the day negative, as energy lost 2.1%, while consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.4%, and financials were 0.3% in the minus category.

The five gainers were led by health-care, better by 4%, information technology, popping 1.8%, and consumer staples, improving 0.7%.

ON WALLSTREET

Stocks fell on Friday after President-elect Joe Biden announced details of a $1.9-trillion stimulus plan and major banks released their quarterly results, kicking off the earnings reporting season.

The Dow Jones Industrials collapsed 253.23 points to begin Friday at 31,738.29. Dow Inc, Chevron and Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock average lower.

The S&P 500 dipped 28.97 points to 3,766.57. Energy, financials and materials were the worst-performing sectors in the S&P 500.

The NASDAQ stumbled 87.69 points to 13,024.95.

Biden’s proposal, called the American Rescue Plan, includes increasing the additional federal unemployment payments to $400 per week and extending them through September, direct payments to many Americans of $1,400, and extending the federal moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures through September.

The plan also calls for $350 billion in aid to state and local governments, $70 billion for Covid testing and vaccination programs and raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.

On Friday, investors got fresh looks at major banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo. JPMorgan reported better-than-expected earnings, but the stock fell more than 1%. Wells Fargo and Citigroup also declined 7.3% and 4.5%, respectively, even after posting earnings that beat analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.7% in December. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected sales to remain flat.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury regained lost ground, lowering yields to 1.11% from Thursday’s 1.13%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices handed back 78 cents to $52.79 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices erased $13.30 to $1,838.10 U.S. an ounce.